Famed Band Moody Blues Plays Halifax Metro Center on Thursday
BRITISH ROCK LEGENDS the Moody Blues bring the live summation of a 47-year career to the Halifax Metro Centre on Thursday night under the banner of their Precious Cargo Tour.
The title could refer to a legacy of hits from 1967’s Nights in White Satin to a successful run of ’80s singles, or possibly the fact that original members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge range in age from 64 to 70, but there’s nothing fragile about the band’s track record as an influential force, from Summer of Love psychedelia to synthpop.
A case could be made for the Moody Blues’ status as godfathers to today’s crop of more baroque indie pop acts like Arcade Fire or the Decemberists, but Hayward says he doesn’t know if it’s a direct influence or more of a trickle-down effect over the years.
"I think maybe we’ve gone into people’s subconscious somehow, but I thought we were making arty records that would reach a small audience and get reviewed in the Observer, or something like that," says the singer from across the Atlantic at his office in Monaco.
"I don’t know if we’ve influenced anybody or not, we just kind of went our own way, and we got lucky with Decca Records and (label founder) Sir Edward Lewis, who told us, ‘I don’t know what you boys are doing, but here’s a studio.’ And that was heaven for us.
"It meant a lousy royalty," he adds with a laugh, "but thank goodness for those first few years. I think we would have struggled if we’d had to make it by just turning out pop records. I think we were respected because we just did what we thought was right."
After a brief spurt of success as a British Invasion R&B-flavoured act, and the 1964 hit Go Now, the Moody Blues really their stride when Justin Hayward joined the band at 19, replacing outgoing guitarist — and future Wings member — Denny Laine.
The following album Days of Future Passed came out in the months following the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and its meticulous production and cosmic romanticism set the band apart as a forerunner of progressive rock.
It also gave listeners unreasonably high expectations for live shows, at a time when reproducing their impressive soundscapes in the pre-digital age was a daunting prospect.
"Especially for me on acoustic guitar, which I was playing onstage right from the time of Days of Future Past and through just about every record after," explains Hayward. "No manufacturer had got it down how to use it well in concert when you’re playing with a band and a drum kit. As soon as Graeme’s drums kicked in, it was all over for the acoustic guitar.